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Origin of Grand Canyon Canid Could Soon Be Solved

Last month U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) reported that a collared, wolf-like canid had repeatedly been observed and photographed on U.S. Forest Service land just north of Grand Canyon National Park. Wildlife officials have working to confirm whether the animal is a wolf from the northern Rocky Mountain population and fully protected under the Endangered Species Act or wolf-dog hybrid. Based on photographs, the animal does not appear to be a Mexican wolf and its collar is similar to those used in the northern Rocky Mountain wolf recovery effort. The federal agency issued an emergency permit Thursday allowing researchers to capture the canid and conduct DNA testing to determine the species and origin. Read more.

If the creature is a gray wolf from the north, it has almost certainly traveled at least 700 miles. Not unprecedented, but a great trek nonetheless. Here’s hoping all goes smoothly.